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September 05, 2022
Take the plunge! Cold water therapy has become all the rage since making its way into pop culture over the past few years. You're here because you know that cold water immersion produces numerous excellent mental and physical benefits, or you've heard others talk about it, and you want in on the secret.
In this post, we cover 5 of the best ice bath tubs on the market that will cover all your cold water recovery needs. There are cold plunge tubs for all budgets, and you'll have to continue reading to find one that provides you with the perfect ice bath experience.
** This post may contain affiliate links where we make a small commission on purchases made at no cost to you. We only recommend products we think you will find valuable.**
PLUNGE is a name you might be familiar with after the founders of The Cold Plunge appeared on Shark Tank. We chose their base model as the best ice cold plunge tub overall because it looks great, works well, and is super easy to use.
Unlike many ice baths on the market that require you to buy or make ice, then add it to the tub, then wait for the water to get cold before getting in, the PLUNGE ice bath is always ready to go!
The Cold Plunge tub is the perfect choice for people who want to take their ice bath routine seriously. Instead of the extra time and planning of using a regular ice bath, this one is always at the ready.
What makes this one of the best ice baths out there includes the substantial cooling units, filtration system, and sanitation capabilities. This machine was built to plug and plunge. Grab your garden hose, fill it up, turn it on and set it to your ideal temperature. The Cold Plunge tub goes down to a chilly 39 degrees Fahrenheit for advanced cold water therapy users.
Measuring 67" in length, 28" deep, and 43" wide, this luxury ice tub should fit most people comfortably, but if you're on the larger side, they also offer a bigger model with the PLUNGE XL.
The PLUNGE ice bath comes with a hefty price tag, but you're sure to get your money's worth, assuming you take advantage of its convenience.
The PLUNGE pool comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty, insulated spa cover, guided cold plunge videos, hose filter, cell phone holder, and skimming net.
The empty tub weighs 150 lb and 1000 lb when full. The mood lighting on the PLUNGE makes this the ultimate cold plunge experience. Another nice feature of the PLUNGE is that you can upgrade from the base model to models with stronger cooling units up to 1hp or the ability to do hot and cold plunges.
You don't have to worry about the cleanliness of your ice bath as the PLUNGE sports circular filtration, Ozone sanitation, and a 20-micron filter.
Ice bathing has never been so easy with this cold tub that's perfect for indoor or outdoor use.
We should also mention that they offer other cold plunge pools including the PLUNGE XL for larger people and the Commercial PLUNGE that's perfect for cold therapy businesses.
Tubble is perhaps the best portable ice baths on the market as it's easy to set up and affordable; just throw it in your bag, and you have an ice bath anywhere you go.
The Tubble boasts a 6 layer of PVC that makes it a durable ice tub that should last you some time to come (as long as you're careful).
Big enough to hold people up to 6' 2", you can stretch your legs out while reaping the benefits of ice baths, including boosted muscle recovery.
Not all inflatable tubs are as easy to use as the Tubble. You can get this up and running within 60 seconds thanks to the electric air pump included with your purchase.
What's more, is that Tubble makes taking ice baths as comfortable as possible due to the built-in headrest and the soft bottom.
When you're done with your cold water therapy session, you can simply use the integrated drain pipe to empty it of the water.
Overall if you're looking for an affordable portable ice bath, then look no further than the Tubble.
The Rubbermaid stock tank is our pick for the most durable ice bath out there.
Although the Rubbermaid stock tank isn't necessarily meant for ice bathing, it does the trick.
Many people have repurposed this stock tank to use for cold water therapy because it's an affordable option that is great for outdoor space. The weather-resistant molded polyethylene can withstand the harshest conditions, similar to the Ice Barrel, which is another popular heavy-duty plastic ice bath tub at three times the price.
The Rubbermaid stock tank has an oversized drain plug for efficient draining and cleaning. Add to this, the stock tank comes in four sizes 50, 100, 150, and 300-gallon sizes which provides you the option to find one that's suitable for your needs.
If you want a tub that will last you a lifetime and don't mind having to add ice every time to get your cold and clean water, then this is the one for you.
The PLKO foldable ice bath is a simple yet effective cold plunge pool.
Available in two sizes, most people should be able to take advantage of cold plunge therapy for the low cost of $50-100.
The portable ice bath showcases a multi-layer of insulation, including peach skin suede, thermal insulation pearl cotton, and waterproof PVC. These layers result in an insulation time of 120 minutes.
Due to the foldable design, you can easily store the ice bath tub just about anywhere, including closets or under your bed.
The setup and assembly of the tub is straightforward and shouldn't take long to get up and running.
If you're short on cash or don't have a bathtub in your home, then you can give this a go.
Renu is a company that's been putting out some of the most premium ice baths on the market. Their base model, the Cold Stoic, isn't cheap at just under $10,000, but it is extraordinary!
With the Cold Stoic, you get a beautifully designed cold tub that's finished with natural woods like Cedar or Redwood that are treated with natural oils.
The Cold Stoic maintains a water temperature between 39 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit so that you don't have to fuss about adding ice or waiting to hop in.
Like the PLUNGE they use Ozone to keep the tub clean even with daily usage. All of the equipment used to keep this bad boy clean and cool is stored away out of sight in a weatherproof mechanic's bay.
This tub uses Ultra Violet technology for natural sanitation, which removes the need to use chemicals; plus, the magnetic drive water pump goes through 20 gallons per minute, ensuring reliable performance.
The Cold Stoic and other models come with a 5-year limited warranty, insulated cover, and a matching handmade step stool.
For the best ice bath experience with the looks to match, check out Renu's offerings.
An ice bath is precisely what it sounds like. Fill up a bath with ice and water until at the desired temperature, then hop in and enjoy. As you see above, there are multiple types of home ice baths available these days, from no-frills plastic tubs to inflatable tubs to premium options.
On the low end, you're looking at $50 for a simple foldable tub that requires constant filling and draining. At the high end, $5,000+ but instead of filling the tub with ice and water, these expensive tubs have powerful cooling units where you can set the temperature automatically.
The benefits of cold water immersion aren't fully known at this point, but there is some evidence of numerous mental and physical benefits. Check out a few of the benefits of ice baths below.
One of the main reasons people love cold water therapy is that it can help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness after a challenging workout. The science isn't ultimately settled on how much ice cold water helps in lowering the amount of soreness that's experienced, but some people swear by it. Sometimes even when the science isn't 100% settled, there are benefits that individuals can get through the placebo or mental effects.
The cold temperature of ice baths will lead your core body temperature to drop. After an intense workout, you might want to bring your body temperature back down to normal levels, and an ice bath can help achieve that goal relatively quickly.
Many people report the feeling of mental clarity after using an ice bath. Improved focus is derived from the secretion of the hormone norepinephrine as your body is immersed in the icy water. This increased focus and energy might not be long lasting, but it is noticeable and could make a difference in your day.
Ice baths promote blood vessel constriction, which in turn can lead to reducing the swelling or inflammation in the body. By reducing the inflammation in the body, you can recover quicker from a brutal workout. We should also mention that some people respond better to heat rather than cold. It comes down to the individual's experience trying to find what works best for them.
Some people say that after they started taking ice baths regularly that their sleep improved tremendously. Once again, this is anecdotal as the science might not be there yet to back up the claims, but it is something to consider seeing how many people have experienced the same phenomenon.
Ice baths aren't beneficial for all situations. While cold water therapy has some benefits, it can lead to negative results for others.
It's generally considered helpful to take an ice bath if your training consists of high intensity movements or is endurance based.
On the other hand, those who are bodybuilders or powerlifters where the goal is muscle or strength gain, then a cold plunge could negatively impact your progress.
There are a few risk factors when considering whether you should be taking ice baths. Below we cover a few of the most common situations where people shouldn't be ice bathing. We also always recommend that you speak with your health provider before undertaking a cold plunge; they will be able to guide you in determining if you should or shouldn't take ice baths. Ice baths could be detrimental to your health for people with:
With the plethora of ice bath tubs out there, it's essential to think about a few key factors when looking to buy one. See below for a brief look at what goes into purchasing the perfect ice bath tub.
Ice bath tubs range from heavy-duty plastic to durable PVC material to long-lasting acrylic basins.
It goes without saying that the inflatable or foldable tubs are less sturdy than the more substantial tubs, but they can still provide an affordable and portable experience. These cheaper tubs could be an excellent option for people on the go or those who don't want to take ice baths that frequently.
The next step up from the PVC or inflatable tubs are the solid plastic tubs like the Rubbermaid stock tank we covered above or the popular and overpriced Ice Barrel. These tubs will last a lifetime and are easy to use, but they are similar to the cheaper tubs in that you'll have to add the ice and water each time you want to use it, then drain afterward.
Lastly, you have premium ice bath tubs like the PLUNGE, Cold Stoic, or Odin ice bath (from Australia). This class of ice bath tub is for people who take cold water therapy seriously and plan to use the tub frequently. Besides the cool aesthetics these tubs offer, they're also super user-friendly as you plug them in, fill them up, and set them at your desired temperature.
With these tubs, there's no need to buy ice and wait until the water cools down. They all have motor cooling units to keep them cold which makes them incredibly convenient but keep in mind you'll also have to pay the electric bill to keep them cold, which can be $1 or more per day.
Your intended use of the tub will dictate which type you should consider buying. To make it simple, if you have the money and plan on ice bathing multiple times a week, then you should really think about buying something like the PLUNGE.
On the other hand, if you want to take ice baths once in a while and don't have a larger budget, then you'd be better served by a cheaper option from Amazon.
For the inflatable or foldable ice bath tubs you'll find on Amazon; the warranty might not be a huge sticking point due to the cost of the items being $100 or less.
However, if you buy a tub that costs thousands of dollars, then you should definitely be concerned with the length of the warranty, especially considering the fact there are motors involved. In this case, we recommend at a minimum, you look for options with a 1-year warranty, and you should opt for the extra coverage even if it costs a few hundred extra.
The price of ice baths can range from $50 to well over $10k. It really comes down to your budget and planned usage, which dictates how much money you'll have to spend. If you have the money to spend, we believe the PLUNGE is your best bet.
As with any purchase, it's a good idea to see what verified buyers think of a particular product before you pull the trigger. You can check online forums like Reddit, check out YouTube reviews, look at the reviews on product pages or browse Amazon. The best form of reviews is always word of mouth so try to ask around your circle to see if anyone has experience with the product you're considering buying.
An ice bath tub is absolutely worth it if you use it frequently. For those who want to test the waters before committing up to thousands of dollars, just start by buying some ice and filling your bathtub at home to see what you think about the experience.
In our opinion, the PLUNGE is the best ice bath tub on the market thanks to its top-tier specs with a reasonable price tag.
Ice baths can provide fantastic health benefits assuming you don't go overboard and spend too much time inside. Most experts suggest never exceeding around a 10-15 minute cold plunge as it could lead to hypothermia or worse.
When starting out, make sure to keep your sessions no more than a few minutes, then work your way up as your body becomes more accustomed to the cold water. Always make sure you tell someone that you're going to be taking an ice bath so they can check on you, assuming the worst-case scenario.
Ice baths can be good for most people barring any health risks. There's a reason why the top athletes in the world swear by ice baths; they work.
The frequency you use your ice bath is mainly dependent on your lifestyle, training methods, and goals. In theory, you could use an ice bath daily, but this may limit the benefits as your body becomes more acclimated to the cold water. You should see how you feel at different usage frequencies, then either use it more often or less if you notice the benefits dissipating.
As a general rule of thumb you should aim for a 3:1 ratio of water to ice. Of course, there are other factors to consider like the type of tub you're using, the outside temperature, will multiple people be using it etc.
The disadvantages of ice baths come down to a few points.
Ask yourself some of these questions to give you the answer to some of the disadvantages you might encounter, they will be different for everyone.
Now that you know a little more about the options available, you should be able to navigate your way through to find the best ice bath tub for your particular situation.
We hope enjoyed this post on our favorite ice baths and that it might help you make a better informed decision should you decide to purchase one.
Don't get discouraged at the beginning, you will build up the mental and physical toughness needed over time to reap the benefits of cold water therapy.
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